Alienware Ditches SteamOS For a Windows PC Design

Valve, infamous for its delays in release dates for their products, has delayed the release of PC machines running SteamOS until 2015 due to design issues with its Steam Controller.

This, apparently, didn’t sit well with Alienware who were ready to roll out their SteamOS branded living room PC called the “Alpha“. First shown off at CES with the other prototype designs, the Alpha was originally going to run Valve’s Linux based SteamOS, which already has a growing number of games on Steam being developed for it. However, with a delay well into next year of its Operating System, Alienware didn’t have the patience to wait any longer gutting their PC of the SteamOS and Steam controller support, instead adding Windows 8.1 with XBox controller support.

This change means that the new PC will stay on schedule for a release date around this holiday season. The basic model starts at $550 and includes a Core I3 Haswell CPU, 4GB RAM, a 500GB HDD, a special dual-band 802.11ac 1×1 Wi-Fi, a gigabit NIC, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI in and out, and a pair of USB2 and USB3 ports. You will have limited customization of the hardware allowing upgrades to a Core i5 or a Core i7, 8GB RAM, up to a 2TB HDD and 2×2 802.11ac.

To power the graphics for any games you’re planning on installing, Alienware, of course, uses a proprietary GPU based on NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. It’s “custom built” with 2GB of its own GDDR5 memory.

The change to Windows 8.1 in Alienware’s Alpha is one that may not go over well with potential buyers who could have been looking into purchasing this system for their pc gaming use in the living room. Part of the idea that many gamers enjoyed about the SteamOS powered PC was that it wasn’t using Windows. While the game selection is far fewer in number for linux, there IS a growing amount of support for the at least partially thanks to Valves creation of their Operating System.

At a price of $550, it’s a bit more expensive than the XBox One or Playstation 4 thus making it less attractive for those who just want to play games in their living room. Though, technically not a Steam Machine anymore, it would also compete against the SteamOS driven systems when they arrive next year. I guess then we’ll find out if the SteamOS stands up against both a Windows PC and the console systems in the fight for living room entertainment dominance.

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4 Comments on Alienware Ditches SteamOS For a Windows PC Design

Ben Franklin II

On June 12, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Valve should skip developing the OS and just develop half life 3!!!! A Quote of Jessie Pinkman appropriate here-Is Valve in the Vaporware business or the money business??? A proven winning franchise (HALF LIFE) on their hands that makes truckloads of money but they are screwing around, for YEARS, outside of their core product with developing an OS -and failing. Whoever is running Valve must be on Jessie’s meth.


On June 12, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Wouldn’t this open Alienware up to a lawsuit from Valve?

Ron Whitaker

On June 13, 2014 at 6:07 am

@Axetwin – Unlikely, since Alienware isn’t calling this a Steam Machine, including any features unique to a Steam Machine, or tying it in with Valve’s program in any way. It’s not like they’re saying “get your Steam Machine here!” It’s a Windows box that ships with a Xbox 360 controller. That’s about as far from a Steam Machine as you can get.


On June 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

@ Ron – Ok but at the sametime, the entire time they were designing this thing, the idea was to have it be the Steam Machine. I mean, at this point Valve is expecting a Steam Machine from Alienware that was the whole reason they got the patent to make the thing. The only thing that makes it any different is just the software and it’s compatibility with a 360 controller. Everything under the hood was there with the intent of it being a Steam Machine and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the parts are labeled as such.